In Plato's Euthyphro, Socrates presents a fundamentally meta-ethical problem to
Euthyphro by asking “whether the pious or holy is beloved by the gods because it is holy,
or holy because it is beloved of the gods” (Plato 219)? I will relate this question to the
Divine Command Theory of morality and discuss the philosophical implications
associated with each possible answer to the dilemma while demonstrating fallacies and
inequalities within each.
Divine Command Theory (DCT) asserts that “morality is somehow dependent
upon God, and that moral obligation consists in obedience to God’s commands. Divine
Command Theory includes the claim that morality is ultimately based on the commands
or character of God, and that the morally right action is the one that God commands or
requires” (Austin). The seemingly paradoxical dilemma Socrates puts forth to Euthyphro
is thus illustrated by its two horns: 1) Are morally good (or pious) acts commanded by
god because they are morally good?, or 2) Are morally good acts good because they are
commanded by God?
To define God in any specific relative term would nonetheless be a monumental
undertaking for which I fear I would not do justice, but in the sense of constructing any
sound and reasonable argument in favor of any one thing or the other there must first be
some concrete premise to build upon. Staying true to the subject at hand I will notZellner 2
attempt to undertake any ontological argument, but for the sake of these arguments
pertaining to DCT we shall not solely define God in the apologetic sense as the
Judeo-Christian God of Abraham, but as the omniscient, omnipotent, and perfectly
benevolent Supreme Being whom transcends all re...
... middle of paper ...
...concrete theories and empirical truths, no matter how factual, that we may attempt to use
to understand his attributes.Zellner 8
Austin, Michael W. "Divine Command Theory." Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
University of Tennessee at Martin, n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2014.
Luther, Martin, et al. Luther And Erasmus: Free Will And Salvation. Philadelphia:
Westminster Press, 1969. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). Web. 15 Apr. 2014.
Moreland, James P., and Kai Nielsen. Does God Exist?: The Debate between Theists &
Atheists. Buffalo, N.Y: Prometheus Books, 1993. Print.
Plato. "Euthyphro." Plato: The Complete Works. Trans. Benjamin Jowett. 3 Rd ed. South
Bend, IN: The Complete Works Collection, 2011. 199-231. Print.
Russell, Bertrand. Why I Am Not a Christian: And Other Essays on Religion and Related
Subjects. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster, 1957. Print.
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